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SAN MATEO, CA-In response to news that the U.S. Coast Guard is ready to give up the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, the Peninsula Open Space Trust says that it wants to buy the San Mateo County landmark and to restore and preserve it for future generations.

The 129-year-old lighthouse was closed to the public last winter after a lightning storm caused chunks of rock and metal to plummet from its 115-foot tower, one of the highest in the country.

The Coast Guard currently leases the lighthouse to California State Parks, which manages the grounds and an adjacent youth hostel. However, the Coast Guard recently announced that it is ready to hand over the Pigeon Point lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 that authorizes the agency to transfer excess lighthouses to entities interested in preserving them.

Although an official announcement is pending, the trust is already working to ensure that it will be the one to purchase the lighthouse on behalf of State Parks at a time when government agencies are financially strapped, according to Peninsula Open Space Trust President Audrey Rust.

The trust has had a longstanding interest in the lighthouse area, having already preserved 1,719 acres that surround the tower known as the Bolsa Point Ranches and the adjacent 5,638-acre Cloverdale Costal Ranch. If the trust ends up getting the tower, it plans to transfer portions of both properties to the state to be part the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park.

Rust says that once the Coast Guard gives legal notification of transferring the lighthouse, the trust will have 60 days to express a formal interest, and then another 90 days to submit an application, a process she called both lengthy and expensive.

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